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Chapter 8. Lightening Your Load > Where Your Attachment to Stuff Comes From - Pg. 82

Lightening Your Load 82 around. By throwing them out, you free yourself to move on to new pursuits. (If you do end up revisiting an old idea, chances are you'd have to do all new research and collect new resources or equipment; just save a few notes or documents that won't get outdated so you don't have to start completely from scratch.) You're Not Alone I added to my clutter problem by buying a sewing machine that has sat unopened in its original box through two house moves, gathering dust and taking up space. I don't know what made me think I'd run up some curtains or make costumes for my son when I don't really even know how to sew, don't particularly enjoy it, and surely don't have time for it on top of a full-time job and chasing after a two-year old. --Joanna H., pension fund manager Identity Some of us keep certain objects around because we draw our identity from them. The possessions we choose to surround ourselves with tell other people, as well as ourselves, who we are or who we'd like to be (or even who we used to be). We don't necessarily use these things or even get much enjoyment from them, but we feel tied to them, so we keep them. I'm as guilty of this as the next person. I was reminded of this problem one day when I needed a map of New York City shortly after moving to a new neighborhood. I knew I had one somewhere, but all I could find in my huge supply of maps were ones to places as far-flung as downtown Cairo; Bergen County, New Jersey; and the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States. (That last one would've come in handy if I'd wanted to take I-95 instead of the subway from Greenwich Village to Queens.) I also came across a driver's guide to Tunisia; an illustrated walking tour of Portland, Maine; and a street guide to Mississauga, Canada. I had to get out the atlas to figure out where Mississauga, Canada is, and I still don't know what I was doing there if, in fact, I had ever been there at all. Quicksand! Don't buy something simply because it's on sale or because you have a coupon for it. Put thought into every purchase; otherwise, you're just accumulating clutter. In my frustration to find the one map I needed, the thought crossed my mind that maybe I should get rid of some of these maps. Even if I were to visit the ex-otic, or not so exotic, locales of the places I had maps for, chances are good that streets and highways would have changed by the time I returned there. Driving through the Sahara Desert with an out-of-date map would not be a wise move.